Libby Anne is doing a series on HSLDA vs. CPS, so I figured I’d try and pound out a quick post from my experiences. I’m not going to write very much about HSLDA, but I’ll link to Libby’s posts so you can go read more about them if you’re unfamiliar.
Basically, HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has morphed into an organization that prevents abuse from being investigated. When we were kids, we heard the horror stories…the kids who were taken away from their parents because they were spanked; the kids who were taken away from their parents because they were playing outside during school hours; the kids who were taken away from their parents because they were Christians; the kids who were taken away from their parents just because they homeschooled. Even Frank Peretti wrote a book about a single dad whose children were taken away because he was a Christian and the demon possessed people thought he molested them.
From a very young age (actually, probably when I started school), we were instilled with a fear of CPS. We were told we had to make our beds or CPS would take us away because we had no sheets. We were told we had to keep our rooms clean because CPS would take us away if our rooms were messy. When those threats didn’t work, my dad took further measures.
My dad was always getting upset at us kids because the house wasn’t clean. Looking back, he was just being an asshole because we were CHILDREN. Us kids took over the household chores when we were pretty young. It was after Beth was born, and she was born when I was 7, so I was either 7 or 8. Let’s say 8, to be on the safe side. I definitely remember I took over the coffee-making when I was 8, and made it nearly every day until I moved out. Anyway. When I was 8, Ben was 6, Joe was 5, Eric was 3, and Beth was 1. My chores were the family’s laundry, the kitchen, and the dishes (and of course the coffee making). Ben and Joe’s were alternating between the living room and dining room, including cleaning up from meals, setting the table, and vacuuming. Eric’s was to keep the stairs clean. I don’t remember who did the one bathroom…I remember I was made to on more than one occasion, but I don’t remember if that was my chores or what.
We were supposed to get everything spotless before dad came home in the wee hours of the morning. If we didn’t, we would get spanked. Dad threatened to get us up when he came home (a time none of us were awake) to spank us and make us finish, but I don’t remember if that actually ever happened. What did happen, however, is that if the house wasn’t up to his standard (which was insanely high, especially for very young children), on a couple occasions he would strew his dirty laundry around the house (I remember waking up and going downstairs and there was a pair of pants on the ceiling fan!) and pour chocolate syrup on the clean dishes in the dishwasher. To any sane person, making messy things messier (it was probably only marginally messy…like I said, his standards were insane) is idiotic. But there you have it.
I really don’t remember why he was so upset this one day. I couldn’t have been over 10. I don’t remember if they thought we were being extra-rebellious (keep in mind that being upset/grumpy was considered rebellion), or if he was just mad because we couldn’t clean things well enough for him. Whatever it was, he was trying to get us to do something better or more than we were doing already.
We were in the living room. I’m sure he had lectured us, and I don’t even remember what led up to it, but he said something like “because you didn’t do ‘x’ I’m going to call CPS on you and they’re going to take you away.” We were immediately terrified, but I thought he was making a sick joke. Then he went into the other room, to get the phone off mom’s desk. By then, Ben, Joe, and I were completely freaking out and sobbing. One of the boys, I think it was Ben, hid behind the couch. I don’t remember what mom was doing, and my memory of looking at dad is a little fuzzy because of my terror and the tears, but I think I remember him laughing, or at least smiling. He picked up the receiver and in one of the only true acts of defiance I ever showed, I grabbed it out of his hands and unplugged it. I’m pretty sure by then he was laughing, probably because he figured his threat had worked.
The only other time I’ve felt such terror was the night I said I was going to leave, when it took me half an hour to even say the words because I didn’t know how he would react or if he would hit me, and after he said he would “knock my block off” if I didn’t say anything. Even remembering this story, I’m filled with dread and there’s a knot in my stomach, I feel like throwing up, and I’m sweaty and my palms are clammy.
At the end of August (I escaped July 4/5th), an anonymous tipster called CPS on my parents and when I heard about it the terror came rushing over me again. Even though I had just escaped from all sorts of abuse and toxicity, I was terrified my younger siblings would be taken away from my parents and would be separated. Of course my parents followed standard HSLDA procedure (don’t let them in, call HSLDA right away, don’t let them talk to the kids individually alone), and nothing came of it. I wonder what would have happened if HSLDA wasn’t around, and the kids had been allowed to talk to CPS workers alone. Probably still nothing, because even if they hate it, they are still brainwashed to defend my parents. I was.
People who work against CPS in investigating child abuse are deplorable. But there’s a certain level of despicable-ness for the kinds of people who lie to their children and make them fear people who could help them.
- HSLDA, the CPS, and fear: Quick, kids – hide!
- Heritage Defense: An HSLDA for the Family
- HSLDA and Child Abuse: An Introduction
- HSLDA’s Fight against Child Abuse Reporting
- Why HSLDA is Wrong about Romeike v. Holder
- HSLDA’s Stonewalling of Child Abuse Investigations